“What just happened?” said Naomi as we reflected on the evening that passed us on a late Wednesday eve this past fall in Newfoundland.
Joyce was a particular woman, quirky yet proud of her Newfie heritage. Most things Joyce said you could barely comprehend, as her dialogue was dotted with Newfie slang and back country dialect. Joyce was the owner of the Treasure Box, a tiny little café that sat along the bay overlooking the splintering peaks and rocky shores of Gros Morne National Park. The Treasure Box could be described as part superstore, part gift shop, part café and partly used as the towns local dial-up. Being that we visited Newfoundland in the off-season, the town was pretty barren with only a few businesses open as winter quickly approached. The day came to a close, and thinking of how to end it we overlooked the local phone book for a video store. With the entire island using the same area code, Joyce said there was no such thing as movie rental in Rocky Harbour, but if we stop by her house she would gladly lend us a few DVDs. Perfect, we’d swing by, grab the DVDs and bundle up as the winds picked up on the west shore of Newfoundland. Joyce’s house was one of the newest homes built in Rocky Harbour with breathtaking views. We pulled in hoping to stop in for short moment but Joyce convinced us to come in for a glass of white wine. We awkwardly excepted, Joyce giving us the grand tour, her life story (including her divorce) and introducing us to her boyfriend Boyd. Boyd, who has lived Rocky Harbour his whole life, has travelled the world on his tiny boat which he bought in a Lasalle marina! Not far from where we call home. The two made a great pair as they generously opened their home to us. An hour later we thought maybe we should turn in, but Joyce had other plans. Quickly she whisked us over to the neighbours, Boyd’s brother and wife, as Joyce freely helped herself to the leftover spaghetti in the fridge. The evening seriously had taken a different turn. What started as a DVD search continued as we hopped from house to house. Following Joyce, we got introduced to more of the town. A few hours later we found ourselves with a stack of DVDs. We perhaps had over 15 DVDs for our two night stay, but they were eager to share what they had, even their wine. (Indeed the wine.) I was told we were part of a Newfie “mug up” which includes walking into other Newfoundlanders homes eating whatever they have, and drinking their wine. Even so, it felt really good to experience the true Newfie culture. Finally we reached the end of our Rocky Harbour meet and greet. This ended with some odd dessert concoction that consisted of maraschino cherries, Philadelphia cream cheese and graham crackers, maybe Pineapple chunks. Probably not the best option for wine pairing. At this point, Joyce left us, turning in for the night, saying…. I don’t even really know what she said, it sounded like a grammatical error to me. The evening was a whirlwind, and literally it became a whirlwind as the weather forecast showed a hurricane coming up the coast of Newfoundland. Luckily our latest friends had Wi-Fi and were able to track the storm for us. Perhaps Rocky Harbour could be a 5 night stay oppose to a 2. I wasn’t going to worry, we practically befriended the entire town. What I’ve learned about Newfoundland is hospitality. I have to admit, the mainland is not the same as the island. To experience all of Canada you must venture to the rock, the island, the bay, the Treasure Box. For there may be a lack of wi-fi or people but the hearts are even bigger. Thank you Newfoundland and thank you Joyce. Simply a treasure, I can’t wait for more Joyce’s to come.